They say, “We only have what we give away”. If they are right, then I met a king the other day. Only, at the time of our rendezvous, he was in the garb of an attendant, at a parking lot, outside a busy shopping complex.
My driver normally avoids parking lots at shopping complexes; I normally try to coax him into using them, insisting that the ten rupees that he saves, are not worth the inconvenience he endures or the fuel he wastes, moving the car back and forth. The evening before last Diwali, when I advised him to use the parking space, he readily agreed, much to my surprise; he probably was too distracted by display of twinkling Diwali lights around us, to argue with me.
I finished my shopping and was just about to get into my car, but was stopped short by what seemed to be a heated argument; it was between the shopping space attendants, and a person, who obviously looked like a hawker. With intent to assuage matters, I went over and asked them what the issue was. The response of one of the attendants amazed me.
He said, “The entire pavement has been occupied by hawkers. This man came in just now. The only space left is in the parking area. My fellow attendants are not allowing him to display his wares; they are bothered about the income they would miss out on, by letting him block a slot, meant for cars. I told them to take money from my share, if need be, and let this man earn his living. The earth belongs to all and all of us have a right to earn and eat. Who am I to deprive this man of the right?”
When I was a kid, I used to read about great kings and emperors like Harsha and Ashoka; they shared their entire wealth with the needy and thus became immortal. I used to wonder if such kings still existed. That evening, I got my answer!!
I am glad that Gaia, our mother Earth stays enriched by such great kings ….